iio. 39 February 1, l r ; PISH AMD WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT REPORT PROVINCE OP ONTARIO DEPARTMENT OF LANDS AND FORESTS Dhrirton of Fieh and Wildlife In. CfereB. lfepledoram F.A. MacDougaU Deputy Minister TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Weight Variations of Juvenal Ruffed Grouse, Port Arthur District, 1957. - by E. J. Swift 1 Significance of Mean Weight Variations In Weekly Samples of Juvenal Ruffed Grouse, Thunder Bay District, 1957. - by R. A. Ryder 4 Report on Age and Sex of Ruffed Grouse, Kenora District, 1957. - by G. C„ Myers 7 Fall Sex and Age Ratios of Ruffed and Spruce Grouse In Sioux Lookout District, 1957. - by D. W. Simkin 9 Ruffed Grouse and Spruce Grouse In Chapleau District, 1957. - by V. Crichton 11 Pelee Island Pheasant Shoot - 1957, Statistics and Comments. - by L. J. Stock 15 Plympton Township Pheasant Survey, 1956. - by A. R. Streib 16 Report of the 1957 Open Pheasant Season In the Regulated Townships of the Lake Simcoe District. - by J. S. Dorland 21 Age and Sex of Ruffed Grouse Bagged During the 1957 Season in Sault Ste. Marie District. - by P. Kwaterowsky 24 Sharptail and Ruffed Grouse In the Fort Frances Area. - by John Miller 25 Management of Sharptails in Fort Frances District. - by C. A. Elsey 23 - 2 - Page Waterfowl Banding, Gogaraa District, 1957. - by R. Catton 29 Waterfowl Caught in Muskrat Traps, Keraptville District, 1956-57. - by D. J. Gawley 32 Marten and Fisher Live Trapping, Algonquin Park, 1957. - by P, Wo Swanson 33 Preliminary Analysis of Reports From Seven Districts On Aerial Beaver Census, 1957. - by R„ Standfield 36 A Creel Census of the Black Sturgeon Area, 1956. - by Ro A. Ryder 41 The Minnow Situation In the Kenora District. - by Jo M. Fraser 50 Warm Water Fishes in Fort Frances District. - by C. A. Elsey 57 (THESE REPORTS ARE FOR INTRA-DEPARTMENTAL INFORMATION AND NOT FOR PUBLICATION) - 1 - WEIGHT VARIATIONS OF JUVENAL RUFFED GROUSE, PORT ARTHUR DISTRICT - 1957. by E. J. Swift A letter from Head Office received in the spring of 1957 suggested that the season for Ruffed Grouse might possibly open two weeks earlier in the Thunder Bay District. This would make the opening date September 16th. On checking with local fish and game clubs, we found they were against this date. The majority agreed a date such as October 1st would be more desirable. The main factor for a later date was the small size of the young birds of that year. Sportsmen felt an extra two weeks would make quite a difference in size. It is realized that the effect of hunting causes no sig- nificant decline in grouse populations, and that shooting young under-sized birds early in the season would probably not affect the populations of years to come. However, many hunters are reluctant to shoot small birds and include them in their bag limit. If an increase in the grouse harvest is desired, would it not be accomplished by increasing the bag limit? Sampling Methods It was decided to secure ten juvenal ruffed grouse each week and obtain their weights. One or two adult grouse were obtained when possible for a comparison. Significant increases in weight in the juvenal birds were to be determined from one week to the next. The birds were obtained on Wednesday of each week. They were shot in the head and neck with a .22 calibre bullet, and weighed immediately on a metric spring scale. The use of a shotgun was thought unsatisfactory, as pellets might change the weight significantly. The .22 bullet did not lodge in the bird, and did not contribute to the gross weight. Unfortunately, full sample counts were not obtained each week; mainly because of adverse weather conditions which tended to make the birds wary and consequently more difficult to shoot. The use of a shotgun in these situations would be an advantage. Birds were classified as adult or juvenal* Both the bursae and the sheaths on the outer primary wing feathers were checked for this determination. Location The Abitibi Timber Concession of the Black Sturgeon Area was selected because it is a restricted area closed to the public for hunting and fishing. Consequently, birds were easier to secure. Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archive.org/details/resourcemanfeb1958onta - 2 - August 28 Number of Grouse 3£ Mean Weight Weight Range Adults Juvenals 1 10 550.0 4S4.0 550 350 - 600 3€ All weights in grams. September 4 Number of Grouse Mean Weight Weight Range Adults Juvenals 4 427.6 390 - 490 September 11 Number of Grouse Mean Weight Weight Range Adults Juvenals 4 4 643 c 8 568,8 600 - 500 - 750 650 September 18 Number of Grouse Mean Weight "Weight Range Adults Juvenals 2 5 62 5.0 620.0 625 600 - 650 September 25 Number of Grouse Mean Weight Weight Range Adults Juvenals 5 600.0 550 - 675 October 1 Number of Grouse Mean Weight Weight Range Adults Juvenals 2 9 762.5 655.6 750 - 575 - 775 750 October 9 Number of Grouse Mean Weight Weight Range Adults Juvenals 3 1 708.3 650.0 700 - 650 725 The above figures show a general slight increase in weight from week to week. By taking the week of September 11th (it being - 3 -r the closest week before our present opening date of September 16th) and October 1st, (it being the date closest to our 1956 opening date of September 29th) there is a difference of 86.3 grams, a consider- able amount of weight for a bird the size of our ruffed grouse. Conclusions 1. Birds of one brood showed a similarity in weight. 2. Birds from different broods taken on the same date showed great variation in weight, sometimes almost double. The birds whose weight averaged smaller were possibly the result of renests and not second broods which do not occur (Edminster, 1947). 3o It is felt that the sample taken this year could not warrant a change of season, but further study on this could be carried out for a few years, and maybe a definite date could be ascer- tained. A .410 shotgun would be a suggested firearm for this project as chances of missing birds in the brush would be decreased considerably, and thus give a better sample. All birds taken on this project were turned over to charitable organizations. In conclusion, I would like to give special thanks to all who helped on this project. FL A. Ryder helped greatly on the compiling of this report. C. A, Rettie and Pc J. Nunan also assisted in the gathering of data. Literature Cite d Edminster, Frank C, 19472 The Ruffed Grouse. The MacMillan Co., New York. 3^5 PP- - 4 r SIGNIFICANCE OF MEAN WEIGHT VARIATIONS IN WEEKLY SAMPLES OF JUVENAL RUFFED GROUSE THUNDER BAY DISTRICT, 1957 by R. A. Ryder This project was originally designed to provide weight data from week to week on juvenal ruffed grouse, and ultimately show the significant difference, if any, between the mean weights of one week and the mean weights of the following week. In this manner, it was hoped that an opening date for grouse hunters in the Thunder Bay District could be set, about the same time that weekly weight increa- ses were no longer significant . Unfortunately, the resulting data were insufficient in certain weeks to handle in this manner. An alternative method determined if the present opening date for grouse hunters was justified in terms of juvenal grouse weight. This was attempted by comparing statistically the sample weights from the week of September 11 (closest week prior to new opening date) , with sample weights from the week of October 1 (approximate old opening date). Hypothesis - The mean weights of juvenal ruffed grouse taken in the week of October 1 are significantly heavier than those taken in the week of September ll e Date Sample Siz e Sum of Weigh ts 36 Mean Weig ht Sum of Squares Sept. 11 Oct. 1 4 9 2,275 5,900 35 Metric units (grams) were used throughout. 563,75 655,56 1,305,625 3,893,750 Using the equations yx, 2 - (T i )2 n if Ni s 2 - s l - and W - lT *> N2 J No - 1 N X - 1 we can calculate the variances where X]_ = weight of a grouse on week of September 11 X2 = weight of a grouse on week of October 1 Nl s number of grouse in sample (September 11) - 5 - N2 s number of grouse in sample (October 1) T l = 2. x l = sum °^ a ^-^ x l va l^es T2 = X x 2 = sum °f a ll x 2 values £x-| = sum of squares of individual x± values \*2 = sum of squares of individual X2 values o si' 1 = variance of the X]_ values o S2 = variance of the X2 values Then employing the t Test equation we obtain *1 - *2 t Z TN^Ds! 2 + (N 2 -Ds 2 2 ~ 1 1 ~ _i^ + i;_ _(Ni-l) + (N2-D Hence our value for t is 3«45» Looking up the critical value for t in the tables of t found in Dixon and Massey (1951) we find that t = 3.11 at the 0,5% significance level using (Mi - l) + (N2 - 1) or eleven degrees of freedom. Our observed value of t is 3«45> greater than the critical t value of 3. 11 i therefore our hypothesis is correct and the mean weights of juvenal ruffed grouse taken in the week of October 1 are significantly heavier than those taken in the week of September' 11. Sources of Error Possible sources of error might have been introduced because ofs 1. The small sample sizes. 2. The failure to differentiate between male and female birds and the possibility of a varying growth rate between the sexes. The samples might lean heavily to one sex which would introduce bias into the data. C onclusions The significant difference in the weights of juvenal birds taken on the present and former opening dates of grouse season are valid for this year only. An early fall might preclude the possi- bility of the birds gaining significantly in weight after the new opening date of on or about September 15th. - 6 - We would suggest that this experiment be continued for several years after which an opening date could be set which would more nearly cover average conditions. Literature Cited Dixon, Wilfred J. and Frank J. Massey, Jr. 1951* Introduction to Statistical Analysis. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Incorporated, New York. - 7 - REPORT ON AGE AND SEX OF RUFFED GROUSE- KENORA DISTRICT, 1957. by G. C. Myers Before and during the open season for ruffed grouse as many hunters as possible were contacted and requested to save the wings and tails for observation by this office. A total of forty- three wings and tails were received at the Kenora District office. They were sexed and aged and the breakdown is as follows l Adults Juveniles <* 5 9 1 Unsexed 1 Totals 7 15 20 1 36 Age Ratio: Adults 9 to Juveniles, 1:20. Sex Ratio-: d to 8, 95:100. We notice that the age ratio from adult 9 to Juveniles 9 is rather high, but the small sample taken may account for this. Unfortunately the age and sex ratio were not taken in previous years so it is hard to give an intelligent report on our future grouse populations. Inquiries made by Department personnel to local hunters re the abundance of grouse during 1957 compared with 1956 indicate, in most cases, that the grouse are somewhat more plentiful this year. Approximately 85% of the birds recorded were taken by five different parties who actually went into the bush to hunt grouse only. The remaining 15% were taken by hunters while travelling along bush roads and noticed a bird in the bush. It is felt that our forest in the Kenora District contains plenty of grouse. As per normal during the first two weeks of the open season most of the hunters are very keen on grouse hunting, but after this period they lose interest and during the remainder of the open season the only birds that are shot are those that stray near roads to pick up grit or small stones. If more intensive and real grouse hunting were undertaken the bad reports of "no grouse left in the bush" would be very few. Presently the grouse population in the Kenora District appears to be in the upward swing of the cycle. Hunters may look forward to more successful hunting next season. Date K illed 16 Juvenile X Adult 9 X 6 Township or Location Killed Sept. Alexandi 3r Island Sept. 23 X X Chadwic] k: Lake Sept. 29 X X Reddit ] ^oad Sept. 27 X X Man do C; amp Road L 314 Sept . 28 X X Eagle R: Lver Sept. 28 X X Eagle R: Lver Oct. 2 X X Gidley r rownship Sept. 30 X X 4 mi. e . of Kenora on Highway 17 Oct. 3 X X Laclu Oct. 3 X X Muskey Lake Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 Unsexed Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Laclu Oct. 5 X X Laclu Oct. 5 X X Laclu Oct. 5 X X Laclu Oct. 5 X X Laclu Oct. 5 X X Laclu Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X no tail Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 5 X X Whiskey Island Oct. 9 X X Dogtooth Lake Oct. 10 X X Blindfold Lake Nov. 1 X X Laclu Oct. 31 X X Laclu Oct. 31 X X Laclu Oct. 24 X X Kenora Oct. 24 X X Kenora Oct. 24 X X Kenora Oct. 24 X X Kenora - 9 - FALL SEX AMD AGE RATIOS OF RUFFED AND SPRUCE GROUSE IN SIOUX LOOKOUT DISTRICT, 1957 by D. W. Simkin In 1957 a collection of wing and tail feathers of both ruffed and spruce grouse was made in the Sioux Lookout District. The majority of the specimens were obtained from hunters who were re- quested at the time of purchasing their licences to remove the wing and tail feathers of each bird shot and to put the parts into an envelope. Each prospective grouse hunter was issued with five Department envelopes and told that if he shot more than five grouse, additional envelopes could be obtained at our office. Hunters were also requested to mark on the envelope the date and location of the kill. Unfortunately very few of them obliged in this respect and a temporal distribution of the kill could not be calculated. Parts of 122 ruffed grouse and 12 spruce grouse were col- lected. Seven of the ruffed grouse sets of parts were incomplete and as a result they could only be aged. Since we have no literature at this office on sexing spruce grouse, age ratios only were computed for this species. The statistics are shown in tables I and II. TABLE I - Ruffed Grouse Sex and Age Ratios Males Females Adult Juvenile 19 52 Adult Juvenile 6 33 Sex Unknown Adult Juvenile 1 6 Sex ratio 71 M ; 44 F or 161 M ; 100 F Juvenile? Adult ratio 96s26 - 3.7sl Juveniless Adult F (neglecting sex unknown specimens) 90s 5 or l£sl. TABLE II - Spruce Grouse Age Ratio Adult Juvenile 3 Juveniles adult ratio 81 4 or 2% 1 - 10 - Although no extensive ruffed grouse inventory work has been done in the district this year it is the general concensus of opinion that the grouse population was higher this year than it has been in the previous few years. The wide juvenile to adult ratio would seem to bear this out. Since most of the grouse hunting in this district is done on the edge of the main roads and the juveniles are less wary than adults, we believe the juveniles are more susceptable to hunting pressure. Naturally this will tend to distort our age ratios. We do believe however, that age ratios are of value when looked at from year to year to determine the trend in the fluctua- tions of the ruffed grouse populations. Ruffed grouse were sexed by measuring the total length and noting band pattern and shape of the central tail feathers. It appears that there is a very large proportion of males in the population. If this is not true it could be that the males are more susceptable to hunting than the females. If neither the above two assumptions is correct it could be that a mistake was made in sexing the birds. The latter is not too likely as all specimens had to have at least two of three characteristics of a sex group to be classified as either male or female - 11 - RUFFED GROUSE AND SPRUCE GROUSE IN CHAPLEAU DISTRICT, 1957 by V, Crichton During the period from October 1st to November 7th a check station was operated 21 miles south of Chapleau on the Chapleau- Thessalon road and an accurate count kept of all ruffed grouse and spruce grouse in hunters 9 bags. The number of automobiles checked that were used primarily for hunting was 1$2, Of this number 71 were exclusively moose hunters who shot grouse only on the roads during their journey back to camp. One-hundred and eleven (111) were grouse hunters who hunted only the roads by car and shot grouse only observed on the road while travelling in the vehicle. No record was kept of the number of hunters per car. They never exceeded two, A total of 3 $5 ruffed grouse were examined, (an average of 2.1 grouse per car) and found to be as follows; Adults Juveniles Male Female Male Female 33 53 143 151 This shows a total of 294 juveniles to 91 adults, a ratio of 3.23 s 1. Female birds predominate in the kill. In adult birds a wide margin exists between male and female. Females make up 58.24% and males 41.76% of the kill, a ratio of 1.4 s 1. In Juvenile birds the margin is not so great. Females comprise 51.36% and males 4#.64% of the kill, a ratio of 1.06 % 1. The crops of twenty-three grouse were examined and they contained a variety of food. Trembling aspen leaves and clover formed a very large part of their diet during the early autumn. Also found in the crops were jackpine cone scales and galls from aspen leaves. The crop of one juvenile grouse killed on October 23rd contained the following: 216 birch catkins from 5/l6 to 1 l/4 inches in length weighing 1$5 grains. - 12 - 225 hazel catkins weighing #$ grains. 601 red cherry buds weighing 33 grains. 74 seeds weighing 6 grains. 5 trembling aspen buds weighing 1 grain. 36 pieces unidentified leaf weighing 2 grains. 2 galls. 3 pieces of gravel. 23 small pieces of twig, bark and other unidentified particles which in bulk could be placed on a ten cent piece. The whole of the above weighed 4 l/2 grains. The combined weight of the contents of the crop was 319 l/2 grains (dry weight). In all there were 11$5 particles of food in the crop. We are of the opinion that the small unidentified particles and bark in the crop were parts of the twigs, buds and catkins and these are not included in the figure of li#5 => Sixty-six birch and three hazel catkins were doubles. This makes a total of 1119 individual pieces in the crop. The crop of a young male bird, shot on November 22, contained the following? 1361 hazel catkins weighing 613 grains, 237 hazel buds and 36 buds on twigs up to 7/l6" long weighing 32 grains. 24 red cherry buds and 8 buds on twigs from 7/l6" to 1" in length and up to l/#" in diameter weighing 9 grains. 1 willow bud. 2 trembling aspen buds. 1 balsam leaf. 1 piece tissue paper. 4 pieces unidentified twigs to 1 l/4 fi long. 3 pieces of dead stems l/S" in diameter and 1/2" in length. 5 birch catkins. 22 unidentified seeds. - 13 - 676 pieces of scruff comprising pieces of bark, bud scales, etc. from the aforementioned food. The volume of scruff could be placed on a 25 cent piece - weight 7 grains. The combined weight of the contents of this crop was 66l grains (dry weight) and the crop was greatly distended by the volume of food. In all there were 1705 particles of food in the crop exclusive of 676 pieces of scruff. One-hundred and sixty-eight hazel catkins were doubles. This makes a total of 1537 individual pieces of food in the crop. The volume by bulk of crop number 2 was 2 lA times greater than crop number 1 amounting to 3.57 cubic inches „ Spruce Grouse A total of 213 spruce grouse were examined, an average hunting bag of nearly 1.2 grouse per car. These grouse were as follows? Adults Juveniles Male Female Mai e Female 16 27 73 92 Female birds predominate in the kill, A wide margin exists between male and female in adult birds. This margin is cut to about one-third (l/3) in juvenile birds. In adult birds females comprise 63% and males 37% of the kill, a ratio of 1.7sl« In juvenile birds females comprise 54% and males 46% of the kill, a ratio of about 1.2sl. The crops of 21 spruce grouse were examined for their contents and are as follows? Contents Date of Ki 11 3 Sex and Age Oct. Female adult Oct. 3 Female adult Oct. 4 Male adult Oct. • 4 Male adult Oct. 4 Female adult Oct. 4 Female adult Oct. 4 Male Juvenile Oct. 4 Male adult Oct. 6 Male Juvenile Oct. 6 — Oct. 7 - 90% Jackpine, 10% Tamarack 60% Tamarack, 40% Jackpine 100% Jackpine 50% Jackpine, 50% Blueberry leaf 100% Blueberry leaves 100% Tamarack 100% Tamarack 100% Jackpine 95% Jackpine, 5% Blueberry 93% Jackpine, 2% Blueberry 99% Jackpine, 1% Blueberry - U T Date o f Kill Sex and Age Contents Oct. 9 Female Juvenile 45% Jackpine, 52% Tamarack, 2 1/2% Blueberry, 1/2% unidentified seeds Oct. 11 Female Juvenile 100% Jackpine Oct. 12 Male Juvenile 100% Jackpine Oct. 13 Female adult 100% Jackpine Nov. 10 - 100% Jackpine Nov. 19 - 100% Jackpine Nov. 19 - 100% Jackpine Nov. 19 - 100% Jackpine Nov. 19 - 100% Jackpine The crop of an adult female killed on October 3 contained the following? 4091 whole tamarack leaves wei ghing 47 grains 427 parts of tamarack leaves to to e 534 Jackpine leaves weighing 47 grains 817 spruce leaves weighing 37 grains TOTAL 5869 pieces weighing 131 grains (dry weight) By volume this crop contained s Tamarack - 45% Jackpine - 32% Spruce - 23% The crops of the 21 grouse contained by volume the following? Jackpine Tamarack - 30.5% Blueberry - 1% Spruce - .5% From this small sample, Jackpine leaves constitute the desired food of spruce grouse. Dead tamarack leaves are also a desired species while still adhering to the tree. During this period spruce leaves, it would appear, do not constitute a vital part of the diet. Spruce grouse were only observed and shot in pure jackpine forests and in stands predominately jackpine mixed with spruce and tamarack during this period. - 15 - PELEE ISLAND PHEASANT SHOOT - 1957 STATISTICS AND COMMENTS by L. J. Stock Non-Resident of Pelee Island Resident Number of Hunters'. Total Bag Limit - cocks only- No* of hunters who shot their limit (43.6% sample) Average bag per hunter (46.6% sample) Total birds bagged Loss and illegal kill (10% estimated) Total kill - cocks only- Age ratio of cocks at the shoot (979 birds examined) Sex ratios? Pre-season (Oct. 23-29) (1147) birds counted) Post season (Nov. 5) ($16 birds counted) 350 150 - $5% - 15% 1,000 9 436 - 43 • 070 7o4 7,400 740 3,140 6.1 juv e per adult C H 1.2 1 C _ H 12.75 Population estimates » using the Kelker Index Number of birds before the hunt Number of birds after the hunt 757 Cocks Hens Totals 3397 10592 19439 9652 K 10409 * Hen loss (940 birds) is based on the number found by hunters and left in the field (466 hunters reporting). - 16 - PLYMPTON TOWNSHIP PHEASANT SURVEY, 1956. by A. R. Streib Plympton Township, located in Larabton County, Lake Erie District, for many years has limited the sale of Township Licences to pheasant and rabbit hunters to a minimum. During the Spring of 1956 an effort was made to encourage the Township to increase the sale of Non-Resident Township Licences, as it was felt that the number of hunters allowed were not utilizing the surplus pheasant population, and as the location of the Township is on the extreme limits of the pheasant range, where many surplus birds die during the winter. Messrs. E. L. Skuce, 0. L. Mellick and A. R. Streib attended a meeting of Plympton Conservation Club and Plympton Township Officials. At this meeting, after some persuasion, the members of the Club and the Township agreed to sell an unlimited number of Non- Resident Licences provided the licences for the whole County were only valid in the Township in which they were issued. The practice of deleting the clause which states, "This licence is valid for rabbits and foxes in any other Regulated Township in the same County" had been carried on by the majority of Townships in Lambton County for a number of years anyway, and it was agreed that it would be deleted in all licences issued in Lambton during the 1956-57 Season. In order to study, among other things, the effect of a heavy hunting pressure on the pheasant population, it was decided that this would be an opportune time to use Plympton Township as a study area for the 1956 Pheasant Season. Plympton Township Pheasant Project, 1956. Purpose - To gather information from pheasant hunters by bag census card and contact in the field in order to determine and study the following - 1. The number of Resident and Non-Resident Pheasant Licences issued in the Township. 2. The effect of an unlimited number of hunters on the pheasant population. 3. The contribution made to the hunter* s bag by artifi- cially stocked birds. 4. The success of stocking day old chicks versus seven week old poults. 5. The success of early stocked poults (June 29th) com- pared with late stocked birds (Aug. 23). - 17 - 6. The percentage of plastic bands lost off pheasants between time of banding and the Pheasant Shoot. 7. Crippling loss. 3. Man hours hunted. 9. Percentage of hunters using dogs. A total of 3 555 artificially raised pheasants were released in Plyrapton Township during the summer of 1956. follows l Cock birds were banded for identification purposes as Total Bi 705 rds No. of Cocks 235 Band Color Department Chicks Red Chicks Purchased 500 249 Blue Department Poults June 29th 150 100 Green Aug. 23rd 200 100 Yellow Club Raised Poults 2000 875 70 Pink Red 3555 1679 Birds carrying yellow bands had an aluminum band placed on the opposite leg in order to determine the number of plastic bands lost after release. During the season Dept. Officers contacted hunters in the field and gathered information which is summarized as follows s Bands CO -p c ■p eti £ CO CO CD CCS £h T) CD hO 3 p •H Xi s T3 d O c CO Oh 3 CD •H aa CD CD £ £ T^ CO T3 -a U rH G o •H £ t=> rH CD CD •H 1 CtS -p CD CD m rH s c6 CO Ct! P P CO fi P o T3 CD 3 a <-\ 3 £> • WD P £ ct! CD o O^ CD Ih rH •H CD rH C o o O 3 Q Oh 2 &Hcn Oh O PQ Oh >H < £> S Q Eh 3C Oct. 27 21 115 22 7 3 2 2 10 14 325 Oct. 29 11 42 9 1 1 7 18 73 Oct. 30 4 18 4 1 3 4 26 Oct. 31 3 2 2 Nov. 1 Nov. 2 2 3 1 1 1 13 Nov. 3 8 35 3 3 10 35 46 216 39 9 1 3 2 2 24 49 474 - 18 - Birds per hunter 15 Hunters using dogs » 19% Banded birds in bag 38.5% Unbanded birds in bag 61 . 5% Man hours hunted for one bird 12.2 The total bag and the number of banded birds shot was so low that no definite conclusions can be drawn from the above infor- mation. Many hunters were of the opinion that birds were available but due to very fine dry weather and the number of corn fields unharvested, they were difficult to flush. If more dogs had been used, more birds would have been harvested. One hundred and twenty-five (125) Resident and 290 Non- Resident Licences were sold for the pheasant season. Licencees were provided with a return form and requested to complete it in detail and return it at the end of the season. Of 415 licences sold, returns were received from 205 by mail or a total of 49.4%. Thirty (30) of these returns had to be discarded as they did not contain sufficient information to be of any value. The following figures are therefore based on 42.2% return; Bands bfl bO ctf B T5 C CO CO 3 CD •H Cm U £ a T3 CO t3 O 0) rH o •H a ^ CO CD p ctf CD <D M H s cd CO U -P • fi P T3 CD 3 a rH 3 ,£> • bD 3 C o 3 O CD u H •H CD rH a o o O 3 13 5 Eh 59 Of, 10 o 4 3 Oh 9 < 1 33 S Q 60 X X Oct. 27 784 Oct. 29 43 12 1 1 3 7 19 194 Oct. 30 29 5 3 2 12 137 Oct. 31 33 3 2 1 15 133 Nov. 1 17 10 4 2 4 11 79 Nov. 2 24 6 1 1 1 3 9 99 Nov. 3 60 11 1 2 1 8 23 277 341 106 22 6 3 17 2 5^ 149 1703 Birds per hunter 31 Hunters using dogs 43 • 7% Banded Birds in Bag 45.3% Unbanded Birds in Bag 54.7% Man hours hunted for 1 bird 16. - 19 - The original request with the licence and two follow-up letters produced only 205 return forms. Fifty-five (55) delinquent hunters living in the Sarnia area were contacted by telephone and of these the information from 20 of them had to be discarded. The following information is compiled from thirty-five (3 5) hunters contacted by telephone; Bands M rt s CO PQ pj <H U £ c O CD rH a O •H P Cfl CD CD X rH S • £ P T3 CD c rH 3 O 3 o CD U rH •H CD rH sn: Eh Pc3 o PQ Oh >H <H 35 12 1 Banded birds in bag T3 CD TJ T5 C CO CD (lj C0T3 £hP ,£ hflCD 3G C o co 0£ £ QS rear 6 15 436 Birds per hunter 34 Hunters Using Dogs 43% 50% Unbanded birds in bag 50% Man Hours hunted for 1 bird ..... 36.3 Summary of Census Cards and Telephone Combined hO Bands ctf s T3 CO PQ 3 CD <H U £ C T» T3 O CD rH £ o •H C CO CD -P cti CD CD X rH Ej cd £ P • C p tJ CD 3 a rH 3 43 3 £ o 3 O CD h rH -H CD rH d O 3 S K En C£ o CQ CU >H < & OC K 210 113 27 4 17 64 2139 Birds per Hunter Percent Banded birds in bag . Percent Unbanded birds in bag Man hours hunted for 1 bird . a . . e .56 45.7 54.3 1S.1 Summary (1) 415 Pheasant Licences were sold in Plympton Township during the seven day shoot from October 27 to Nov. 3. 70% of these were Non-Resident and 30% Resident. (2) Licences were not restricted in any way and only 415 were sold. A total bag of 113 cocks would not reduce the population sufficiently to have any effect on the 1957 hatch. The popula- tion was probably underharvested due to the limited number of hunters in the field after opening day. (3) 45.7% of the total bag were artificially stocked birds. 3.2% of the total cocks released were shot. - 20 - (4) Unable to determine the success of stocking day old chicks versus poults, as the Plympton Club banded a number of poults with pink bands which were apparently confused with the red bands, that were used on day old chicks received from the Department. (5) 6% of early stocked poults (June 29th) were shot, compared to 11% of late stocked birds (Aug* 23). (6) Majority of hunters reporting birds shot carrying yellow bands failed to report aluminum bands on the other leg. Information received was not sufficient to draw any conclusions concerning the number of plastic bands lost after release, as no birds were reported as having an aluminum band only. It is rea- sonable to assume that all birds carrying yellow bands, also carried aluminum markers. (7) 46 Resident and 216 Non-Resident hunters were checked in the field during the pheasant season and only 4 reported shooting a bird that they did not recover. This would indicate that either the crippling loss was very low, or that hunters do not like to admit that they shot a bird which they did not recover. The latter is probably correct. (£) 210 hunters reported hunting a total of 2,139 hours, an average of 10.2 hours per man during the season. (9) 4$. 8% of the hunters used dogs. - 21 - REPORT OF THE 1957 OPEN PHEaSANT SEASON IN THE REGULATED TOWNSHIPS OF THE LAKE SIMCOE DISTRICT by J. S. Dorland 1. L icences The total number of township licences sold prior to the pheasant season was not recorded this year. It was felt this figure gave us little or no indication as to the number of hunters in the field during the pheasant season. The same price now is charged non-resident hunters for the hunting of pheasants as is charged for fox and rabbit hunting, with some townships selling all their licences prior to the pheasant season to many hunters who intend to hunt only fox and rabbits. Sixteen townships participated in the pheasant shoot in the regulated township areas this year. Prices charged for licences were as laid down by Head Office ($3.00 plus a 10% issuing fee for non-residents and 25<£ plus a 5$ issuing fee for residents). All charged the above mentioned prices except Chinguacousy in Peel County, which township it appears charged some non-resident hunters an issuing fee of t>1.00. 2. Harvest A census of pheasants seen and shot by hunters within the regulated townships during the open season was again carried out by Conservation Officers, Deputy Game Wardens, and other interested parties. A total of 1310 hunters were checked, consisting of 4$5 parties of which 211 hunted with bird dogs. These hunters in 6024 man-hours of hunting observed 965 cock pheasants, 109$ hen pheasants and harvested 472 cock birds. The result of this year ? s census tends to show that more hunters, hunting more man-hours took more cock birds (approximately one out of every three hunters getting a bird) than in the previous year. This increase in harvest might be attributed to the use of more dogs this year as nearly half of the parties checked were hunting with dogs. Also the fairly dry spring gave us a good natural hatch throughout the lower townships. The District this year had three different opening dates and lengths of season. Eight townships hunting seven days gave a return of one bird per 4.6 hunters. Six townships hunting four days gave a return of one bird per 2.6 hunters. Two townships hunting two days gave a return of one bird per 2.2 hunters. - 22 - At the time of release, 975 cock pheasants were banded with green and red plastic leg bands throughout the district. Only five birds were reported to be shot with these coloured leg bands which makes us wonder if these banded birds are surviving . An interesting point was revealed this year in the harvest of pheasants in the Township of Whitchurch. For some years this township was releasing in the neighborhood of 2,000 pheasants each year. This year they released only 500 pheasants. During the 1956 season records show that the average hunter checked during the season only harvested .1$ of a bird. This year our figures show that each hunter checked averaged .50 or a half a bird. This increase in bird per hunter may be attributed to the fact that a good natural hatch was had in the township during the year. Besides the increase in harvest in i'/hit church Township the harvest per hunter in the Townships of Ilarkham and King and Chinguacousy were all double over the previous year. Although the harvest of pheasants was better this year than in recent years it still falls far short of what could be considered good hunting. Present day charges for township licences now appears to meet with approval. The setting of three different openings and lengths of season is however, most unsatisfactory. Not only is it confusing to the sportsmen, but the control of the hunting is found difficult by our field staff. Following is a summary by townships showing the number of parties, hunters, man-hours, etc., for the 1957 pheasant season, excluding the regulated townships of Adjala, Tecumseth and West Gwillimbury. -p a 03 CO CO Li CCS 3 CD OX x P-, i fi Li en CD £ Oh (n N tO o o- o- On o rH -00 ON -oo <n o^ Li co CD p ■P c a cti s CO tX 05 Q) in X CD Oh Oh CV ITN rH -oo LT\ c\ O cv CV Lf> ON OA NO -4 rH VO -4- O^ CV in -4 UT\ CV o o PA CO CD •H bfl •P c CO Li •H hi cd CO o Oh^d Q cv NO cv -4 rH NO CN, O O NO o m CV cv CO X p o o O X O CO CO C C CD CD CD X CO cv NO NO o rH -4 -4- CV NO -4 o H CV rH CV ITS UTN O cv NO -4- O NO nD -4 -oo ON NO NO 0~S CV o -4 £> CV -4 -60 On O en 0J CO X a o CD o CD O CO CO Jh 3 O T3 DC CD J P c c 01 3 fc-H f=H K to -4 NO On in -4 NO ON -4 IN NO -4 -oo H r^ NO IfN -oo U"\ <}" u-\ ITS LT\ CV ~4 NO On O On O o t> O rH O- CV m o- o- NO O- CV rH cn ON CV o ON NO O LT\ o^\ ON rH -4" LfN. -4 CV CV CV o rH CV -4- CV o NO co t3 tin JH CD CD^ P o • £ CD o 2X 3 K o ts o -4 r-1 -oo NO <r\ ir\ t> -co NO ON NO O- -4 CV rH ON CV rH rH -4 rH cv rH tr\ UA U~\ CV H o- o rH m On rH P CO CD > cd o: p a 03 CO 03 CD X Oh CO r -M CD O •H P Lt o 03 C—i Oh CV C"\ On LT\ -co CV ON <r\ H U"\ O H OA -4 LTN NO en CV LfN rH t>- Cn <n CV >> u >> CD a >> X CO U ■H X X s ^3 O X p bO o •H O o co •H S3 h r-\ O rj X •H a C ^ r-\ CT3 £ o O |g >> ^ ^H Ct3 03 X •H s O a p p O X CD X X o ^ b£l Tj O <z! a l-H E^ P P X X WD bD P O a CD •H o o <c! ■H CO O Li fi ^ •H •H rH X Li u EH g 03 •H ,03 •H 03 X • X 03 r-] O o O H Oh F^-H M > m O O < EH EH E-< <-T\ -co -4 - 24 - AGE AND SEX OF RUFFED GROUSE BAGGED DURING THE 1957 SEASON IN SAULT STEo MARIE DISTRICT by P. Kwaterowsky A total of 209 samples of ruffed grouse wings and tails have been collected by sportsmen, conservation officers and gatemen during the 1957 grouse shoot in the Sault Ste. Marie District. From this sample, the age and sex of 201 ruffed grouse was determined by the technique described by Dr. G. a. Amman in 194$. Three samples of ruffed grouse could neither be aged nor sexed because of incom- pleteness, 3 wings and tails were those of spruce grouse and were omitted from this brief report. The breakdown of the specimen received into age and sex classes is as follows? Adults Male 44 Female 31 Juveniles Male 54 Female 74 Total 203 The ratio of adult females to juveniles is 1:4*13 and indicates the breeding success in this district. The location of the individual kills is not listed in this report because no information whatsoever could be obtained therefrom. Seldom more than one bird was killed in the same locality. Conse- quently it is felt that the accumulated data give sufficient informa- tion without being confusing. Two exceptions only° Peshu Lake area and St. Joseph's Island both presenting a fair size sample are listed below. Area Adults Juveniles Male Female Ratio Male Female St. Joseph's Island Peshu Lake 9 4 7 6 7 9 9 14 1:4 1:383 The ratio of adult females to juveniles of both sample areas correspond closely with the ratio for the entire district. Therefore, it can be assumed that breeding success was approximately 4 to 5 birds per nest. It may be of special interest to note the kill of sexes in each age class which seems to be somewhat out of line. The ratio of sexes is for adults 1:072 and for juveniles 1:1,37- This ratio indicates a relatively poor survival of last year's females and most likely we may encounter the same situation come hunting season because of the heavier kill of juvenile females. - 25 - SHARPTAIL AND RUFFED GROUSE IN THE FORT FRANCES AREA by John Miller During the open season for Sharptail Grouse in the Fort Frances Area, hunters were contacted and requested to remove wing and tail feathers and send them to this office. This did not prove too successful, and most samples were supplied by Lands and Forests 9 staff. Main hunting areas were in the agricultural land west of Fort Frances and are shown on the attached map. The total number of birds aged and sexed was small with only 3$ reported. An average time of I5 hours was spent hunting each bird. Sex Male Female Adult s 6 6 Juveniles 11 15 17M : 21F or 81 M % 100F 12A l 26J or 46.4A s. 100 J 6AF s 26J or 23.2AF % 100 J Sex Ratio - Male to Female. Adult to Juvenile Ratios Adult Female to Juveniles It is felt that the sample is too small for any significance, and we will not attempt to draw any conclusions from it, although it may be useful for future reference. In conclusion., we feel that the Sharptail Grouse in the Fort Frances Area can stand quite a bit more hunting pressure, and from observation in the field the bird seems to be on the increase. We believe that age and sex ratios are of value when looked at from year to year to determine the fluctuations of the sharptail population. L ive Trapping Programme ; Attempts are being made to live trap sharptails in the Fort Frances Area. Up to now we have had no success, mainly due to the small snowfall and the wide distribution of food. Further attempts will be made when conditions are more suitable. C\2 E-i O H C£ Eh co H Pi CO w o 525 c£ Eh c£ O Pn ^ en H a) •H O cci £ -P aj PU*H ?H Pm co X p CO ^ o Ch f^ O CD cx: O P bO •H a -P £ •H 2-H £ X! O •H CD X U to c co -p p 1 01 CO O a> c •H Sn U cti Q CD*: rH P-. CO CD H •H o Q 9 o X T o H - 27 - Ruffed Grouse Samples of tail and wing feathers were collected throughout the Fort Frances District by hunters and Lands and Forests* Staff and turned into this office. Principal areas hunted were back roads around Fort Frances and Rainy River, and to some extent Atikokan. The total number of birds aged and sexed was $7. Sex Adults Juveniles Male Female 8 11 32 36 4011 ; 47F or 85 M ; 100F 19A ; 63J or 27. 9A l 100J 11AF ; 68J or 16.1AF ; 100 J Sex Ratio - Male to Female; Adult to Juvenile Ratio; Adult Female to Juveniles It is felt, although the number of samples was small, the wide ratio between Adults and Juveniles, and Adult Females and Juveniles, would tend to show a good general increase in the Ruffed Grouse population. This has been substantiated by hunter returns of 1957 being compared with information collected in 1956 which was dependent on interview only, In conclusion, we feel that the future of the Ruffed Grouse in the Fort Frances District is good. The Atikokan area, which has in the past few years had a steady decline in population, still shows a low population. - 2d - MANAGEMENT OF SHARPTAILS, FORT FRANCES DISTRICT by C. A. Elsey In proposing a management program it is necessary to assess present conditions and attempt to predict the future. Sharptail habitat is presently in good condition throughout the agricultural area and the species is widely distributed and plentiful. Generally speaking there is an abundance of good habitat. Let us try to predict the future. Soil in the agricultural portion of the Rainy River District is rich and fertile. Owing to present market conditions it is difficult to find a market for pro- duce. Other means of making a living are generally more attractive than farming. As a result farms are being abandoned. For awhile abandoned farms make ideal sharptail habitat. Gradually willow and aspen fill in the open fields and suitable site is lost. We can predict then that there will be considerable reduction in sharptail range during the next decade or two. This will not be complete enough to seriously reduce our sharptail range. We think that changing world conditions will eventually make it economic to re-open much of the abandoned farm land to agricultural development. This in turn will result in increasing sharptail range. If our guess is anywhere near true, changing agricultural conditions will probably result in the maintenance of adequate sharp- tail range for the next twenty-five to fifty or more years. While we are making predictions, it is also suggested that this species will become mere and more popularly hunted in the future It is suggested then that our best management program is to keep track of the species and its population fluctuations, changes in available range, etc. We should learn what we can of its habits, etc. If at some date in the future active management is required the necessary background of information will be available. - 29 - WATERFOWL BANDING, GOGAMA DISTRICT, 1957. by R. Catton Banding commenced on August 16th and was finished on September 6th, lasting a total of 22 days. Very little time was spent in the area prior to banding as sites and traps were available from previous season,, Rather than remain in the area awaiting bait acceptance, corn was first put out on August 6th and 7th and checked on the 12tho At this time 20-30 birds were flushed from two sites. Predicting an early opening of the waterfowl season, it was decided to commence trapping as soon as possible. On the 14th, headquarters were set up at Washagami Lake. On the 16th, two traps had been completed and the first birds were taken. We are at a loss to explain why bait acceptance occurred only at 4 sites when 6 were successful in 1956. The two sites which went untouched unfortunately used the two largest traps, and these were responsible for a large number of the 1956 birds. On one of these two sites on the second last day of operation some 30-40 birds were flushed but it was too late to bother assembling the trap. In all, a total of 206 birds were banded and as was the case in 1956 there were days of good results and those with poor results. The most apparent and sudden influx of new birds occurred on the last day when after a week of very poor results there were a good number of birds in the air and 14 new ones were taken. Most likely responsible for the increase was the first cold, stormy weather of the season which occurred two days previous. The three casualties were attributed to predators, probably mink. A pair of Great Horned Owls was frequently observed perched along the river near one trap, and one was taken in a pole set at Easy trap. Contrary to our expectations, birds banded in 1956 played no part in decoying new birds onto the bait. In fact, only one bird of the near 500 banded last year returned to a trap. However, four old bands were turned in by trappers who reportedly took the ducks in spring rat traps in the area. This year the project was run by members of the Gogama Fish and Wildlife staff which included J. Macfie, B. Turner, P. Endress, R. Catton and one ranger S. Mantha; using experience gained under the direction of Mr„ Ed. Baker in 1956. Conclusions As long as the program contributes or continues to be of use it should be continued, providing that it does not interfere with more important fish and wildlife work. - 30 The number of birds taken this year is less than half the 1956 catch. Admittedly the two largest traps were not put in use, but this in itself could be an indication of fewer birds in the area. The banding was started as early as possible, anticipating an early open season. Had we been able to continue for another 10 days or so, it is felt the count would have been increased by perhaps another 100 birds. Bag limits checked on opening week-end produced 12 bands from 35 odd black ducks shot. This would indicate that a good many more birds moved into the area from the time banding finished on the 6th to the opening date on the 14th. The wood duck banded on the 17th was one of a pair observed earlier. This is the first positive record of wood duck in the district to our knowledge although one was rumored shot several years back. To date (November 15th) returns are in for five birds apart from the above mentioned 12. Three of these were taken in Ontario while the other two were shot in Michigan. Following is a brief breakdown of time spent on the projects August 6 & 7 - Bait first set out. August 12 - Flew into area and checked baited sites, returning to Gogama same day. August 14 - Set up residence at Washagami Lake. About 50 birds flushed from corn at Easy and Baker sites. Traps pulled out. August 15 - Easy and Baker traps closed in. Able hauled out on site and left open. August 16 - Easy and Baker traps both catching birds. Able enclosed. August 17--1& - Three traps producing; no acceptance at Charlie or Dog sites but trap was pulled out and large area cleared and baited. August 21 - Still no new acceptance and another sight (Fox) is being baited. August 24 - Fox trap enclosed. August 26 - George trap took first birds. After 10 days banding using 2 small and 1 large trap., a total of 140 birds have been banded. Aug. 27-Sept. 5 - Birds becoming scarcer. Possible that presence of several boats on lake with motors running all day are keeping birds off bait. This theory discarded when after boats departed birds still did not come in. Daily results very discouraging. Still no sign of birds taking bait at Charlie. Acceptance noted at Dog, but too late to bother closing trap. September 6 - Last day of operation. Sudden influx put birds banded over the 200 mark. All traps dismantled and stored. Equipment etc. returned to Gogama. - 31 - Ducks by Day New 10 Repeats Daily Total Aug. 16 10 Aug. 17 19 19 Aug. IS 14 1 15 Aug. 19 14 7 21 Aug. 20 11 7 IS Aug. 21 7 7 (1 of which was last year's) 14 Aug. 22 23 6 31 Aug. 23 12 6 (1 casualty) IS Aug. 24 9 7 16 Aug, 25 d 11 19 Aug. 26 11 21 32 Aug. 27 12 12 24 Aug. 23 11 15 26 Aug. 29 9 10 19 Aug. 30 4 3 7 Aug. 31 4 13 17 Sept. 1 3 11 14 Sept. 2 4 11 15 Sept. 3 1 6 7 Sept. 4 1 (1 casualty) 1 Sept. 5 5 12 17 Sept. 6 14 206 11 (1 casualty) 25 179 1 Wood Duck, 11 Mallards, 193 Blacks, 1 Green-winged Teal. - 32 - WATERFOWL CAUGHT IN MUSKRAT TRAPS, KEMPTVILLE DISTRICT, 1956-57 by D. J. Gawley Questionnaires were supplied to each trapper upon issuance of their 1956-57 season trapping licence,, The return of these questionnaires was very low ( 5§% return). It is extremely difficult to get trappers to complete these forms, and in a good many cases the Conservation Officers completed the form for them. The following data were collected from Questionnaires completed^ Total No. Forms Percent of No. of Ducks No. of Ducks Percent Trappers Completed Returns Caught Released Released 719 416 58% 412 23 5 66.7$ Ducks. Of the 412 ducks caught 50% were Black Ducks and 25% Wood Species and number of Ducks caught S B lack Wood Teal Merganser Scaup Goldeneye Redheads Unidentified 209 101 3 IS 7 1 1 42 During the 1956-57 season .9$ ducks were caught per trapper, as compared to .gg in 1955-56 and 1.13 in 1954-55. The information gathered over the past three years tends to indicate that there is no sizeable difference in the number, of ducks caught in muskrat traps in any one year. - 33 - MARTEN AND FISHER LIVE TRAPPING, ALGONQUIN PARK, 1957. by P. Wo Swan son Live trapping of marten and fisher was carried out at Laveille and Dixon Lakes in Algonquin Park from August 29th to September 3th, 1957? for the purpose of restocking areas in the Lindsay District. The total trapping took place during ten trapping dayso During this period a total of twelve marten and five fisher were live trapped. In total twenty-eight traps were employed at different periods during our trapping operations. In addition to the catch of marten and fisher, one raccoon and one red squirrel were also captured,, Twenty traps were sprung. Cod liver oil, raspberry exclusively for bait. Using one t day there was a total of two hundr animal trapped per 12.4 trap days. Nine marten ( 4 f e males and 5 males in the Peterborough Crown Game Pre 2 males) were also released in the and female died in captivity, and Ontario Research Foundation. Marten Catch and Dispo sition Males Females and strawberry jam were used rap as the basic unit of one trap ed and twelve trap days giving one (Marten and Fisher combined). ) were transplanted at Jacks Lake serve. Five fisher (3 fem ales and same area. Two marten, a male one live male was donated to the 5 1 1 4 1 Jacks Lake, Peterborough Game Preserve Died in captivity Ontario Research Foundation Total 7 5 Trap days per marten 17.6 Fisher Catch and D i sposition Males Female? 2-3 Trap days per fisher 42.4 Trap days per animal combined 12,4 Jacks Lake, Peterborough Game Preserve. - 34 - Lave ille Lake - Marten Trapped Males Females Total 3 3 Trap days per marten - 6.6 Traps employed - 2 Lave ille Lake - Fisher Trapped Males Females T otal 1 1 2 Trap days per fisher - 10.0 Traps employed - 2 Trap days per marten and fisher combined - 4»0 Dixon Lake - Marten Trap ped Males Fem ales Total 4 5 9 Trap days per marten ■» 21.3 Traps employed - 26 Dixon Lake - Fisher Trapped Males Females Total 12 3 Trap days per fisher - 64. Traps employed - 26 Trap days per marten and fisher combined - 16.0 o h o CD P ,£> P £ cri 3 H s <t; < <U «=U < < < <a; < rH <U -4 ua c^\ Oi to < <tj < <j <n *H HCVr^4 Lf>£>-0 rH CV O^i "CO hO CD VMALfMA u-N ltnvO vO vO vO \D 03 ,o cv cv cv cv 1 c\j cm cv cm c\* c\j cv rH S 2 S >H >H >H >H >H >H >H >-l >H >H >H vD vD vO vO vO CM CM CM CM CM t "'»-J Nfc-J *>w4 S>— J ^*s 1 f*H ^^1 f*^ K^ K^ X) a CD J cd co CD Cd CO In CD X < rH o CD cd f£ •"3 _q^ hHh^I hhi-^ U Cd CO CO COCO cocococo COOCJCDOOCDOOOO CDcdcd'Hcdcd-Hcdcdcdcd 1 ' i r — I I * "1 F ' M I " 'I CO CO CO CO CO X JkJ X X M o o o o o cd cd cd cd cd cd CD < CD cj • »»o(DCD» o e»»CD rH rH rH Pi fl G C -H -H a G a £ c -h o O O O CD CD o O o O CD « X X X > > X X X X !x! > H •H •H •h cd cd •H •H ■H •H •H cd QQQQJ^ClQQQO^ t-q CD CD ^ CD cd cd cd cd cd i — 1 1— 3 1— 3 1 — 1 1 — ^ rH r-i •H C C -H C CD O O CD O > X X > X Cd -H -H Cd -H hh Q QJ Q fa O rH o o a O Q qqSqqqS^qqqq ■P b£| •H rH H H O rH to -4- to rH t>- rH O iHCMCMCMCMrHCMrHrHrHrHrH -4-4rH 40 • • e o • to -4vO u-\^i- CD b£| bO bO bC C C a •H -H •H hOP p rH P rH P -P bC-P bOrH CrlH fa rH fa rH rH C H CJ fa 333cd;3cd23 3 3 3 cd OtfTl (DX) CD T3 -Ci O X) O CD >H < -slj >H <I>H<C; <r4>H<i:>H>H M hi) C c •H •H P rH P P r- rH ?-. rH H ^ 3 cd ^ ^ d T3 (DTlt) CD <>H <C ■<t: >h X CD CO f=H f=H pL, pin fJL, fJL, ^ S fe ^ CD P cd rHrHrH(HrHCN2o^r^\f»^r^-j-r^- bobpr A obX)p LH p H fi 1 p H a < fa,aPH 23;33CDCDCDCDCD<D<DCD <U <H <tl <q 00 oQtf} C/5 CO CO CO CO r^-4\O^OvO fn CD • • o • J3 ±2+3+2+3+2 co p_ c^ a, a, a •H CD CD CD CD CD fe COCO CO CO CO - 36 - PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF REPORTS FROM SEVEN DISTRICTS ON AERIAL BEAVER CENSUS - 1957. by R. Standfield Division of Research In 1955 a method for measuring the densities of beaver populations by aerial census was developed at the Wildlife Research Station in Algonquin Park. A description of the procedure has been reported in Division of Research, Section Report (Wildlife) No. 7. Seven Districts conducted this kind of census in the fall of 1956. a preliminary analysis of the results was reported briefly in letters to these Districts. In addition, the second annual census was conducted in Algonquin Park. The experience we gained with these censuses in the fall of 1956 demonstrated the need for some minor modifications in the method. The greatest source of error, however, could be traced to the inability of some observers to recognize many of the active beaver colonies that occurred in their zones of observation. Such variation in observer efficiency is not peculiar to this census method alone but is frequent in all types of aerial observation. Since it was necessary in some cases to use inexperienced or inef- ficient observers because of the shortage of manpower the method was supplemented in the amount and kind of data recorded to provide some way of measuring observer efficiency and to assist in interpreting the results of individual observers. These modifications in the method have been reported in an amendment to the above mentioned Research Report. This was sent to all Districts in August, 1957. For the seven districts where the census was conducted for the first time in 1956, the results could only by analyzed in a general manner; the method provides an index of population density and changes in the beaver population may be demonstrated by comparing counts from year to year. In general the population in the fall of 1956 was lowest in the jackpine and spruce areas of Gogama and Chapleau and highest in the better stands of aspen and white birch in North Bay and Pembroke* In the latter type however, it was low in Gogama and Sault Ste. Marie, In southern deciduous forests where maple, oak and yellow birch are dominant it was high but still somewhat lower than in the aspen- white birch type. In mixed forests of aspen, white birch, jackpine and spruce, it was intermediate in density throughout all the Districts. In the five Districts considered, the highest beaver popu- lation (compared on the basis of numbers of active colonies per 100 bodies of water) was in North Bays Algonquin Park, Sault Ste. Marie and Chapleau followed in that order, Gogama had the lowest. - 37 - Results of the censuses in the fall of 1957 have now been received from seven Districts and Algonquin Park. In three of the Districts censuses had been done in 195o; this was the first census for the remainder. For Algonquin Park, where the census has been carried out for three consecutive years, it was possible to obtain some indica- tion of the trend of the population and to assess the efficiency of the method. The results of these three years are shown in Table I. TABLE I - Active Beaver Colonies Recorded During Censuses In Algonquin Park (Variation between years and forest types) . Year Forest Type Annual A B CD Totals Matures Mixed Matures Aspen-Birch- Immature °, Mature; Aspen-Birch Pine-Spruce Aspen-Birch Maple 1955 34 72 72 43 221 1956 22 40 74 45 131 1957 33 79 100 92 304 In 1956 there was a significant decline in the number of active colonies observed in forest types A and B. The other two forest types showed no significant difference from the previous year. When we compared the counts between the years 1956 and 1957 they showed significant increases in the population densities in all four types Checks of portions of the route over which the count was taken in 1956 and 1957? by ground survey and helicopter, showed that the differences in population density recorded were real and were not due to variation in the efficiency of the observers or error in the method. The reason or reasons for these fluctuations are unknown to us. If we accept the results shown in Table I it appears that it is possible for the number of active colonies to double in one year; as in forest type D between the years 1956 and 1957. This of course is not in accord with our ideas about the dynamics or repro- ductive potential of beaver populations. It does not indicate, however, that the numbers of beaver have doubled over a period of one year. A great increase in the number of active colonies could quite possibly be caused by the migration and re-establishment of a large second-year age class alone. It is also possible that under these conditions the absolute numbers of beaver could remain unchan- ged. This elementary analysis of the Algonquin Park censuses points out the variation in house counts we might expect from year to year in a beaver population and may be useful in our interpreta- tion of the results from the various Districts. - 3d - A report on the results of two censuses in Gogaraa District showed a significant increase in the house count between 1956 and 1957 that is comparable in many ways to that noted in Algonquin Park. In the fall of 1956 the total house count was 53 » in 1957 it was 106. Those taking part in the Gogama census have offered the explanation that part of this increase was due to the advanced state of "food piles in 1957 which made observation easier and more certain, increase in observer efficiency, a fault in the method or a combination of all three. Any of these factors could have a significant effect on the results but it is also possible that this increase is real. The results for Kenora District showed counts of 166 and 167 active colonies for the years 1956 and 1957 respectively. In North Bay District for the same years the counts were 84 and 89. For those Districts where the census was done for the first time in the fall of 1957* we cannot calculate an index of population density. We can, however, compare population densities between the various forest types sampled in each. The available information does not permit a detailed analysis of the numbers of active colonies occurring in the many specific forest types recorded in most Districts nor is it probably necessary to do so at this time. The four general forest types used in the analysis of the 1956 data (see page 36} are adequate even though we realize that there may be considerable variation in forest composition in each from one District to another. The four general forest types shown in Table II ares I. Northern coniferous - jack pine and black spruce dominant, usually with a minor percentage of aspen and white birch. II. Northern deciduous - aspen and white birch dominant, usually with a minor percentage of jack pine, black spruce, white spruce and balsam. III. Northern mixed - deciduous and coniferous species in approxi- mately equal proportions. IV. Southern deciduous - maples, oaks and yellow birch dominant with a minor percentage of white pine, red pine, jack pine, hemlock and cedar. - 39 - TABLE II - Results of Beaver Censuses in 1957 Showing Variation Between Districts and Forest Types (Values expressed as active colonies per 100 bodies of water) . District Forest Typ Cochrane Gogama North Bay Parry Sound Pembroke (Ottawa Valley) Pembroke (Algonquin Park) Sioux Lookout Swastika Northern Coniferous 19 20 k 32 b II Northern Deciduous 132 a 27 III Northern Mixed 25 24 52 60 31 - 53 77 26 — 39 45 c 22£d 93 IV Southern Deciduous 29 64 67 I white and red pine a - Value based on an inadequate sample. b - Type I in North Bay is approximately in the area sampled, c - Value based on an inadequate sample, d - Type II in Swastika is modified by numerous cleared areas devoted to farming. Table II shows the results of censuses for seven Districts and Algonquin Park. In order to take into account the variation in the numbers of streams, ponds and lakes between forest types and Districts the actual figures recorded during the censuses have been expressed as the number of active colonies per 100 bodies of water. The values for forest type II in Cochrane and forest type I in Swastika have not been considered since the samples were so small they were probably statistically inaccurate. In general, in any District where forest type I occurs it appears to support relatively low populations. Forest types II and III support relatively high populations in all Districts. The extraordinary value shown for type II in Swastika possibly results from modification of habitat through land clearing and inadequate trapping pressure, although there is some indication in the high values for all types in Swastika that the beaver population there is at a generally high level. Algonquin Park is exceptional o the beaver population is almost negligibl shown for types II, III, and IV are to be however, shows values in types III and IV Park as does North Bay for type III. The indicative of a relatively high beaver po the regions immediately north and south o rivers. Type I in North Bay differs cons other Districts in that white and red pin f course in that harvest of e and the high values expected. Parry Sound, almost equal to Algonquin se similarities may be pulation in these types in f the French and Mattawa iderably from this type in e form a significant part - 40 - of the coniferous forest. At the present time, however, we have no indication that these species might contribute to the support of a high beaver population. According to the analysis of the 1956 results for Gogama it had the lowest beaver population of those Districts censused in that year. In the fall of 1957* it appears that the population has increased to a level comparable to that in Cochrane. The populations in Sioux Lookout and Pembroke appear to be roughly intermediate in size to those in other Districts. The difference in population between the Ottawa Valley and Algonquin Park in Pembroke District is without much doubt an indication of the trapping pressure exerted outside Algonquin Park and a major difference in land use. No attempt has been made to compare the values statistically since there are many influences in the census method and in the ecologic and economic conditions in the various Districts about which we need more accurate information. Repeated censuses in all Districts over a period of years will no doubt eliminate most of the error from the census method. A detailed and intelligent analysis of the resu- lts in each District will then depend on the District staff 9 s knowledge of local conditions. - 41 - A CREEL CENSUS OF THE BLACK STURGEON AREA, 1956 by R. A. Ryder I ntroduction The Great Lakes Concession of the Black Sturgeon Area consists of an area of roughly 1,000 square miles immediately south- west of Lake Nipigon. Most of the network of lakes and streams drains southward into Lake Superior via the Black Sturgeon River. A few others drain northwards into Lake Nipigon. The majority of the lakes and rivers are natural pickerel ( Stizostedion vitreum ) and pike ( Esox lucius) habitat , although lake trout (Sal velinus namaycush) and speckled trout ( Salvelinus fon tina ~ lis ) are found in some waters. Sturgeon, ( Acip enser fulvescens l are common in the Black Sturgeon River watershed while smallmouth black bass ( Micropterus dolomieu i) occur sporadically in the same watershed, The origin and past history of the latter fish is somewhat obscure. No doubt, the original stock entered the watershed from Black Bay of Lake Superior, and became established throughout the Black Sturgeon watershed system. Hence, while the smallmouth bass occurs in most lakes and larger streams of the area, they cannot be con- sidered common except locally. Yellow perch ( Perca flavescen s) are found in most of the lakes which also have the smallmouth bass. During the summer of 1956, the Black Sturgeon Area was open to travel for the first time since the summer of 194$» The main road running approximately through the centre of the area was built by the Great Lakes Paper Company, intended for use by the company in their woodlands operations. In 1949 the area was barri- caded from outside traffic by a gate attended at all times by watch- men who allowed only authorized personnel to enter. Hence, for all practical purposes, the public were excluded from the area from the period early in 1949 to the fall of 1955 when they were permitted to use the road in limited numbers for hunting. The effect of closing the area did not, however, have the same results on the fishing waters as would legislative closure of a lake or stream whereby absolutely no fishing would be allowed. Woods workers frequently fished the waters in the area and outsiders occasionally found means to enter. The results then would be that of a limited closure of the waters to fishing. In the spring of 1956 the announcement was made that the road was again open to travel by the public, except during periods of extreme fire hazard. It was suggested at this time that the Black Sturgeon Area was an ideal location to run a creel census because the only exit was barricaded and all persons traversing the road were stopped and checked by the gateman. At that time it was - 42 - Waters Tabulated During; 1956 Creel Census, Black Sturgeon Area , Lake Nipigon Little Sturge Lake Sturge Lake Scale: 1 inch = $ miles Black Bay- Lake Superior - 43 - decided to obtain as complete a census as possible because it was realized that any attempt at randomizing the sampling days would run into interference should the area be closed at all because of extreme fire hazard. Hence, none of the recommended methods of ran- domizing or stratifying the sample (Best and Boles, 1956) were followed. Instead, creel census cards were issued to the gateman and instructions given to him to check every fishing party leaving the area whether they were successful or not. Creel census form F. C. 17 was used in this project. The object of the survey was to determine catch-effort statistics and compare them over a period of years. In this manner, a determination of the effects of fishing pressure in the area was to be made for the period studied. It is the general opinion of the public that the lakes in the area are under-harvested, especially since the use of the road was forbidden., and some even believe the Black Sturgeon Area to be little short of an angler* s paradise. By comparing the creel census results with those of studies done elsewhere, we expected to obtain at least an arbitrary estimate as to the area's value as a sportfishing resource. Creel census form F. C. 17 was also to be evaluated. The first person entering the area for the sole purpose of angling did so on May 18. Several more anglers fished during the period of May IS until June 1 when the creel census system was first introduced to the area. Fortunately, the fire hazard did not reach such an extreme as to warrant closing the area even temporarily to anglers. The net result then, was a complete day by day creel census of the area from June 1 through September 30 when the survey was terminated. The gatemen reported only a handful of anglers entering the area after this date until freeze-up in November. Five hundred and fifty-eight angling parties reported on a total of twenty-one waters in which they had fished (sixteen lakes and five streams) . Of these, two lakes were outside the actual Great Lakes Concession and had been reached by the only access road through the Black Sturgeon Area. Lake Nipigon was also omitted from the survey as only a handful of anglers gained access via the Black Sturgeon road, most of them preferring to reach the lake by way of the southeast end. All other waters were tabulated only if fifty or more anglers had fished them during the period of census from June 1 to September 30 inclusive. This step deleted the few trout lakes and streams from the computations and left seven waters (five lakes and two streams) in which fifty or more anglers had fished. All of these waters contained populations of pickerel and pike in varying degrees as the main predator species, none being considered as trout waters. Smallmouth bass were also caught spora- dically in these waters but were considered as taken only inciden- tally to the pickerel and pike which together compose the main population of game fishes. - 44 - Results of Census A total of 1,14^ anglers fished 7,271 hours on the seven waters selected for computation by the methods described above,, These anglers captured 2,288 pickerel, 3,128 pike, and 39 small- mouth bass, plus undetermined numbers of yellow perch and sturgeon. The latter two species constituted an » insignificant portion of the catch. TABLE I - Average Catch Per Angler, Black Sturgeon Area - 1956, Fishin_ g* Average Average Average Pressure Fishing Average No. of No. of No. of (% of Hours No. of Pickerel Pike Bass Total No. Per Fish Per Per Per Per of Hrs 16* .) Angler 6.1 Angler 6.6 Angler 3.3 Angler 3.3 Angler Sturge Lake <0.1 Muskrat Lake 50% 6.8 4» 8 1.9 2.9 C0.1 Black Sturgeon Lake 6% 4.5 4.2 0o2 4.0 - Black Sturgeon River 5% 4o3 4.0 2.8 1.2 <0.1 Nonwatin Lake 9% 6.2 4-0 1.3 2.5 0.2 Little Sturge Lake 7% 7c3 3o5 2.6 0,8 - Spruce River Ail Waters 6% 8.2 2,9 0.8 2.0 <0.1 100* 6.3 4o7 2.0 2,7 <0.1 K Percentages were rounded off to the closest unit of value, therefore, the total does not necessarily add up to 100 per cent . In tabulating the results of a creel census it is difficult to arrive at a single standard by which we can compare lakes on a common basis. Number of fish per angling hour is often used, but presumes that angling ability is the same for all anglers. Other variables also affect the accuracy of this determination. The number of fish captured per day might mean more to the angler in deciding his ultimate success for the day although all aspects of effort are eliminated in this case. Best then, is to consider both facets of creel return to the angler in the estimate of fishing success for any lake or stream. In Table 1, the average number of fish per angler is given. All values less than 0.1 are indicated as <0.1 to eliminate excessive decimal places of little or no significance. The average number of hours spent angling is also included to indicate some idea of the effort expended. The percentage of the total number of hours fished on all lakes, gives the relative fishing pressure for each indivi- dual lake. Hence from Table 1 we can obtain the maximum amount of information on the "fishability" of an individual lake or stream, - 45 - that is, its ability to provide good fishing to the angler. Table 2 is a picture of fishing success as revealed by- time and effort expended. In this form it is most useful for comparison with other studies. TABLE II - Fishing Success, Black Sturgeon Area - 1956 . x Sturge Lake Black Sturgeon Lake Black Sturgeon River Muskrat Lake Nonwatin Lake Little Sturge Lake Spruce River All Waters Fish Pickerel Pike Bass Per Per Per Per Hour Hour Hour Hour 1.1 0.5 0.5 <0.1 0.9 <0.1 0.9 - 0.9 0.6 0,3 <0.1 0.7 0.3 0.4 <0.1 0.6 0.2 0.4 <p.l 0.5 0.4 0.1 - 0.4 0.1 0.3 <0.1 0.7 0.3 0.4 <D,1 3€ Compiled from returns of 1,148 anglers who caught a total of 2,288 pickerel, 3>128 pike and 39 smallmouth bass. Table 3 presents both the average catch per angler by months and the average rate of capture by months. Percentage of total number of hours fished in all months gives the relative fishing pressure per month. This table might be instrumental in determining for the angler the best months to fish in the Black Sturgeon Area. It might also be an indication of when the fish are feeding best. TABLE III - Fishing Success by Month, Black Sturgeon Area - 1956 . Fishing Pressure* (% of Fish Pickerel Pike Fish Pickerel Pike Total No. Per Per Per Per Per Per of Hours) 13% Angler 5-4 Angler 2c5 Angler 2c9 Hour 0.9 Hour 0.4 Hour June 0.5 July 45% 5.1 2.2 2.9 0.8 0.3 0.5 August 33$ 4.3 1.5 2.7 0.7 0.2 0.4 September 7% 4.3 2.3 1.9 0.6 0.3 0.2 Percentages were rounded off to the closest unit of value, therefore the total does not necessarily add up to 100 per cent. Comparison With Other Studies This present study, the first of its kind in the Black Sturgeon Area does not reveal much in itself. Only after it has - 46 - been carried out over a period of years will its value increase. However, it is interesting to compare the present study with those completed elsewhere in determining relative fishing success. Perhaps, most useful for comparison are the creel surveys completed in the Sault Ste. Marie District. Conditions there and in Minnesota are probably most similar to those found in the Black Sturgeon Area and serve as the best basis of comparison. Creel surveys in Michigan and Wisconsin have also proved useful although the greater dissi- milarity of conditions between these states and the Black Sturgeon Area probably introduce more variables to account for different values. As stated before, the number of fish caught per hour serves as the best means of comparison and appears to be the common standard of comparison used by most authors,, TABLE IV - Pickerel Black Sault Sault Sault Sturgeon Ste. Ste. Ste. Area Marie Marie Marie Minnesota Michigan ( Present Dist. Dist. Dist. ( Many Wisconsin (one Study) 1952 5 1953 6 0*7 1955 ? waters) , 0.3-0.49 (one lake)g lake)-. Fish Per 0.3 0.6 0.39 .0003-. 191 .02 Hour N.B. Subscript numbers refer to Literature Cited found at the end of this report. Reference to the above table shows that the greatest similarity in catch of pickerel per hour occurs between the Black Sturgeon area and neighbouring Minnesota. The number of pickerel per hour caught in the Sault Ste. Marie District in 1955 also bears close resemblance to the catch per unit of effort in the Black Sturgeon area. The figure of 0.3 pickerel per hour lies about half- way between the low (.0003 in Wisconsin) and the high of 0.7 (Sault Ste. Marie District, 1953). It represents about twenty fishing hours needed to obtain a limit (six) of pickerel and can be consi- dered as fair fishing The Black Sturgeon River proved to be the best fishing spot in terms of effort expended (0.6 pickerel per hour) although anglers seemed to prefer Muskrat Lake which bore 50% of the angling pressure but resulted in only one-half the success (0.3 pickerel per hour) attained by those fishing the Black Sturgeon River. The best pickerel fishing was experienced in June (0.4 pickerel per hour), then decreased to a low of 0.2 pickerel per hour in August, rising again slightly in September to 0.3 pickerel per hour. - 47 - TABLE V - Pike Black Sault Sault Sault Sturgeon Ste. Ste. Ste. We stern Area Marie Marie Marie Canada Michigan (Present District District District National ( one study) 1952 5 1.1 1953 6 0.9 1955 ? 0.9 Parks 2 0.7 lake) o Fish 0.4 .003 Per Hour N.B. Subscript numbers refer to Literature Cited found at the end of this report. Pike fis the Black Sturgeon Marie District nor This is partly bee of the waters in t Black Sturgeon Lak per hour and four appears to be June and September. It in October was not the best for pike Smallmouth Bass hing as shown above does no Area with that experienced with that of the National ause of the extremely low p he are* which were included e taken alone provides good fish per angler) . The best and July with the fishing is unfortunate that a reco kept, as many anglers beli fishing. t compare favorably in in the Sault Ste. Parks in Western Canada, ike returns from some in the final average. pike fishing (0.9 pike time to fish pike dropping off into August rd of the pike caught eve this month to be As was previously mentioned, smallmouth bass occur only sporadically throughout the Black Sturgeon River watershed,, This fact was borne out by the creel returns where they constituted only an insignificant portion of the total catch. Creel Census Cards The creel census form F. C. 17 proved entirely unsatis- factory for this study. Limiting the requested information only to that necessary in the survey would simplify matters for both the census taker and the angler alike. It would, no doubt, reduce the number of incompletely filled cards, some of which had to be deleted from the study. Omitting fish names of species not found in the area would also simplify the operation of filling out the census cards. Acknowledgments Without the tireless efforts of the gatemen employed by the Great Lakes Paper Company, this census would not have been completed. Conservation Officer E. J. Swift assisted with the tedious work of tabulating the data on the creel census cards. Regional Forester R. S. Hyslop suggested that the initial study be undertaken. - 48 - Conclusions 1. Most anglers entered the Black Sturgeon Area primarily for the purpose of catching pickerel and pike. 2. Pickerel and pike fishing can be considered fair to good in those waters tabulated with minor exceptions, 3. Smallmouth bass do not form a significant part of the creel except in individual catches. 4. Catch statistics obtained will become increasingly valuable if a similar creel census is carried out in future years. 5. Comparison of the present study with other studies completed on the same species designates a relative sport fishing value to the area. 6. Results of the creel census are valuable not only to management personnel, but also to the angler^ e. g. shows him the best lake to catch a certain type of fish and the best month in which to fish. 7. Fishing pressure on the area is extremely light even on Muskrat Lake which bore 50% of all the fishing pressure on the seven lakes tabulated. $. Creel census form F. Co 17 is not satisfactory for this area as it bears too much extraneous matter. It is recommended that a simpler form be devised for this particular area and used in future years. Literature Cited 1. Best, E. A. and H. D. Boles 1956. An evaluation of creel census methods. Calif. Fish and Game, 42 (1955) 2 :pp. 109-115. 2. Cuerrier, Jean-Paul and J. C. Ward. 1952. Analysis of creel census cards received from Mountain National Parks during the 1951 angling season. Canada Minist. Resources and Develop. 30 pp 3« Eschmeyer , R. W. 193 5. Analysis of the game-fish catch in a Michigan Lake. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc, 65(1935) spp. 207-223. 4. Hiner, Laurence E. 1943. A creel census on Minnesota lakes, 193#-1942. Minn. Bur. Fish Res. Invest. Rept. 44^20 pp., Mimeo. (Original not seen). 5. Loftus, K. H. 1954. Creel census conducted in 1952 at the Mississagi and White River travel permit gates. Ont • Fish and Wildlife Management Rept. 17s5 pp. - 49 - 6, Loft us, Kenneth H. 1954° Creel census report - 1953 Sault Ste. Marie District. Ont, Fish and Wildlife Management Rept. 20s pp. 26-23. 7. Loftus, K. H. 1956. Sault Ste. Marie District creel census - 1955. Ont. Fish and Wildlife Management Rept. 31s pp. 63-70. &. Solman, V. E. F. 1950o National Parks creel census. Canadc Fish Cult., No. 62pp. 11-14° 9. Threinen, C„ W. 1950. The "unpredictable" walleyes of Escanaba Lake, Wis. Cons. Bull., Vol. 15, Ho. 4spp. 10-12. - 50 - THE MINNOW SITUATION IN THE KENORA DISTRICT by Jo M. Fraser Introduction In January, 1956 a questionnaire entitled "Annual Report of Commercial Bait Fishermen for 1955" was sent to all holders of minnow seine and minnow trap licences in the Kenora District with the under- standing that these questionnaires were to be completed and returned before the issuance of 1956 licences could be considered,. This questionnaire (attached) was designed to provide a more comprehensive view of the "minnow situation" in this district. A closer appraisal was needed to show the present status of this industry, its method of licencing, its effect on the resources it exploits and just where it stood in the general picture. This closer appraisal was prompted by a certain amount of dissatis- faction concerning the present licencing system. Data from Questionnaires In the Kenora District in 1955* 95 minnow seines and 220 minnow traps were licenced to 94 persons. At a licence fee of $10.00 per seine and ^5.00 per trap the total amount received in licence fees was $2,050.00. Sixty-three persons held seine licences only (ranging from 1 to 4 per person), 15 held minnow trap licences only and 16 held both seine and trap licences. The number of traps licenced to an individual ranged from one to forty. To date questionnaires covering 67% of the seines and % of the traps have been completed and returned by the licencees. These questionnaires report a total of 97*121 dozen minnows caught in public waters and sold for the sum of &51>932oOO. The price of minnows ranged from 35^ per dozen to $1.00 per dozen depending on the kind and size of minnow and the location of the dealer. The average price was slightly over 50^ per dozen. The above information represents approximately 80% of the minnow fishery in the Kenora District. The entire minnow fishery catches and sells over one and one quarter million minnows valued at $60,000.00. Kind of Bait Caught and Gear Used The bait fishermen commonly divide the various minnow species into three groups - chubs, shiners and suckers. Of the 97,121 dozen minnows reported, 49% were chubs, 39% shiners and 12% suckers. Approximately 85-90% of the chubs were caught in traps while practically all the shiners were taken by seine. Suckers were taken equally well by seine and trap. - 51 - Three minnow fishermen reported propagating a total of $,000 dozen minnows, mainly suckers. Worms and crayfish were used very little as baito Only one dealer reported selling worms and he sold $1000 o 00 worth of imported worms. Holding Facilities and Transportation Equipmen t The holding facilities for minnows vary considerably, and are dependent on the size of the business, its location and the ex- perience of the licencee. The majority of the larger operators have holding ponds ranging up to an acre in area. The number of holding tanks or pens varies from one to six and depends on the size of the business. Some minnow fishermen have holding pens in the lake but the majority pump their water into holding tanks either from the lake or well. Several operators have dammed small creeks and use the reservoir as a holding pond with a gravity feed pipe to the holding tanks. In transporting the larger dealers use a tank carried on a 1/2 or 3/4 ton truck and equipped with a pump and spray nozzles. The smaller dealers use five gallon cans and small tanks. Comments of Bait Fishermen The majority of licencees took advantage of the "comments" space to explain their fishery or to offer suggestions. Of the 60 questionnaires returned 16 were from minnow fishermen who fished steadily or nearly so from spring to fall. It is noted that these men handled $>43>3o9»00 worth of minnows or 95% of the total earnings declared. These fishermen were nearly unanimous in requesting a general minnow fisherman's licence with suggestions for a standard licence fee running up to $100.00. They also commented that the present licencing was too restrictive especially in fishing minnow traps and requested that they be permitted to trap over a wider area. The remainder of the questionnaires (44) were returned mainly by tourist camps who hold a seine licence to permit them to handle minnows. The majority of these camps purchase their minnows from the minnow fishermen, but keep a seine licence to occasionally supplement their minnow stock when the supplier is unable to do so. A few licencees fished minnows for a little extra money or as a hobby. The Present System of Licencing At the present time, in this district, a seine licence ($10.00) permits the licencee to seine any quantity of minnows from three different waters stipulated on the licence. There are several locations at which the seining of minnows is limited, but otherwise, the licencee can usually choose the three waters he wishes to seine. The largest number of seine licences held by one person is four which permits him to seine twelve different waters. Similarly a' minnow trap licence ($>5«00 for each trap) permits the licencee to fish three lakes of his choice (usually). One licencee holds five different licences (covering a total of 26 traps) which allow him to fish 15 different lakes. As the minnow - 52 - trapping picture changes each year, due mainly to winterkill, many of the licencees request a change in description of their licences to cover the new conditions. Of the 93 different lakes which are mentioned on minnow trap licences, 45 are "unnamed lakes" . as an example of how con- fusing such a situation can be the following is copied from an existing licence; "Licenced to fish in the public waters of - unnamed lake at extreme east end of Stephen Lake; unnamed Lake immediately southwest of extreme east end of Stephen Lake; unnamed lake south of north end of centre Southern Peninsula in Caviar Lake, District of Kenora' 1 ' . The Problem of Efficient Harvest If a minnow fisherman is to make a full time job of minnow fishing from spring to fall he must both trap and seine. He seines shiners usually in the larger lakes and is not hampered in this respect. Minnow trapping is mainly for "chubs" and is carried out in the very small lakes or lakes which have few or no game fish species. Many of these lakes winter kill periodically necessitating a constant searching of the more productive waters. This searching cannot be carried out properly because the minnow fisherman is restricted to three lakes on his licence. T he Problem - Biologically Concerning the seining of shiners there is no reason to believe that the 25,000 pounds taken in 1955 has made much of an impression on the population in our larger waters. Lake of the Woods alone produces well over 3? 000, 000 pounds of fish annually of which over half consists of predatory species. As to chub trapping it appears to be a race between the minnow fisherman and winterkill in many lakes. In the non-winterkill lakes the minnow species show no tendency to decline. There is little conflict between angling and minnow trap- ping in most lakes. If the lake offers good angling minnow trapping is poor and vice versa. The Problem re Licencing The present licencing system is somewhat unwieldy in that we have minnow fishermen holding as many as eight different licences. These licences are for one seine or any stipulated number of traps. If a minnow fisherman wishes to alternately fish (say) 5 traps in two sets of three lakes each he must obtain one licence (^25. 00) for three lakes and another licence ($25.00) for the other three lakes. In this district 93 lakes are mentioned in minnow trap licences and of this number 45 are "unnamed lakes"'. This demonstra- tes that the lakes in which "chubs" can be taken in quantities are - 53 - insignificant in most other aspects. Furthermore, the term "unnamed lake" on a licence serves no purpose other than to clutter it up. Each spring and throughout the summer there are numerous requests for "change of description" forms to be made out in order that minnow fishermen can transfer from several "unnamed lakes" to several more "unnamed lakes"'. To relieve this situation several blanket licences have been issued in the past authorizing the holder to trap an "area of lakes". An example of such a licence is this "public waters adjacent to Highway #17 between 20 mile sign and 40 mile sign". Although this has served to avoid an extensive descrip- tion it is vague in meaning. The Problem - Regulation and Control Minnow fishermen are licenced in order that the minnow fishery may harvest the minnow crop in an orderly, efficient and wise manner. Biologically there is no reason to believe that the minnow populations are overexploited, in fact, the opposite is probably true. There remains, however, the fact that this fishery should be an orders one in that there is a minimum of waste and a minimum of squabbling among minnow fishermen or with other interests. How much control is necessary? Insofar as minnow trapping is concerned very little. Minnow trapping is carried out mainly in small lakes which are of little interest to any but the minnow fishermen. If he is allowed to extend his fishing over a greater number of these lakes a more efficient and wise harvest will result. Minnow seining is slightly different since certain choice minnow concentration areas are the cause of a certain amount of bickering. Several complaints and counter-complaints over two seining areas near Kenora have already lead to restricting the number of licences which may operate in these areas. We shall probably have to continue such a policy in regard to seining. One phase of regulation that should not be overlooked is the assurance that minnow fishermen and dealers have adequate facilities for holding and transporting minnows. The Problem of Licence Fees It is the writer's opinion that the licence fee of $5.00 per minnow trap is much too high and out of line with other licence fees (tourist outfitting, commercial fishing) . This fee is also out of line with the seine licence fee since one seine can take 10-20 times the quantity of minnows taken by a trap. The licence fees paid by minnow fishermen in the Kenora District range to a high of $220.00 per licencee (2 seines and 40 traps). This same fee permits six commercial gill net fishermen to fish 22,000 yards of net, or, 22 outfitters to operate camps cater- ing to thousands of anglers. - 54 - In this district, if a minnow fisherman intends to operate his fishery seriously he must trap chubs and a J,p50.00 minnow trapping licence permitting up to a maximum of 50 traps would not be out of line. The $10.00 seine licence would still permit camps to supply some of their bait and also allow the entrance of newcomers to the . minnow fishery. Summary and Conclusion In the Kenora District the "minnow business" is a $60,000 industry and is an important factor in the general economy of this district in that it supplies one of the needs of the tourist indus- try which is live bait or more specifically minnows . Of the 93 persons holding licences to fish minnows 20 are in the business seriously and these 20 catch 95% of the minnows sold in the district. The majority of the remaining 73 licencees hold seine licences which are used either to handle minnows received from minnow fishermen or to partially supply their own minnows. Practically all the "true" minnow fishermen must trap as well as seine in order that they can provide a constant supply and variety of minnows to their customers, the greater majority of which are tourist camps. To trap extensively at $5-00 per trap is an expensive business and this fee appears to be out of line with other licence fees permitting the use of renewable natural resources^- Minnow trapping is confined to the relatively unimportant small lakes which provide a good supply of minnows mainly because their predatory sport fish populations are small or non-existent. Many of these lakes winterkill periodically necessitating a contin- ual searching for the more productive lakes each year. This searching, which is an important phase of the minnow trapper's business is at present restricted by having a limit set on the number of lakes that may be trapped. Biologically and ad- ministratively there appears to be no valid reason to restrict the activities of minnow trap fisherman. Rather, they should be given more scope to operate, influenced to maintain proper holding and transportation facilities and encouraged to propagate minnows. Recommendations The writer is cognizant of the fact that conditions vary appreciably with respect to minnow populations throughout Ontario. He is also aware that the problem of regulating the catching and selling of minnows on a province wide basis is a most difficult one. The following suggestions are based on the evaluation of questionnaire returns, personal contacts and observations and are presented to stimulate further thought on this phase of Fish and Wildlife administration. - 55 r 1. It is suggested that there be one minnow trapping licence fee, set at ^50o00, and that this licence permit the use of up to a maximum of 50 minnow traps. 2, It is suggested that a minnow trapping licence permit the holder to trap minnows in any water in the district that is not speci- fically closed to minnow trapping. 3« It is suggested that all minnow traps in use bear the name of the licensee in order that ownership may be ascertained. - 56 - ANNUAL REPORT OF COMMERCIAL BAIT FISHERMEN FOR 1955 _L y COCO«C«UOOOO*OOOOlOOO OX 0000900r<«t0060*<10*««*00000«0« o..a.ooceo..o, Post Office do hereby submit the following report covering operations under licence (s) , s .• ..«.,. .,.,., •• for the year ending December 31? 1955» Bait Taken from Public Bait Purchased Waters and Sold ^ Taken By For Resale T ype No, of Doz. Av. Price Per Doz, Seine Traps No, of Doz. Chubs S hiners Suckers Others Do you sell other bait such as worms ,,o., crayfish . ,,,? Approx. value .,•••, Holding facilities ; Do you have a holding pond .,..,,? Approx. Size & Max, Depth ..,,.., No, of holding tanks or Pens ,..,,° Size of tanks or pens Source of water supply for holding tanks Do you propagate bait fish ,,....? If so state number of fish sold • 09900000* oo«oocooo«o*ooooooonoooo*««o OO«OQO0*O«O Transportation Equipmen t Describe equipment used for transportation of minnows General Comments (Use back of form if necessary) OOOO 00 0000000000000000000000006 (Signature of Licencee - 57 - WARM WATER FISHES IN FORT FRANCES DISTRICT by C, A» Elsey In tackling this subject it seems wise to make a definition to fit the subject. Warm water fishes is a loose term that seems to have different meanings on different occasions. At this time it means game fish of this area, other than lake trout. Or more speci- fically, it refers to yellow pickerel, northern pike, maskinonge, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappies, and sauger. Perch, pumpkin- seed and rock bass are not used here as game fish. Lake trout is the only game fish in the Fort Frances District not included in this list. In moving about the district, even within the short period of a year, certain impressions are gained regarding these species and their management problems. I shall try to discuss them here briefly, species by species. ( a ) Y ellow Walleye or Yel low Pickere l s This is the most important game fish of the District. There is no indication so far in my studies that sport and commercial fishing have adversely affected the species-, This statement is based principally on interview and results of gill net sets. The rate of growth is possibly a little slow in Rainy Lake but not seriously so. If anything, this would indicate underpressure rather than over- pressure. A tagging programme was undertaken this spring. The returns have been relatively light, indicating that the lake could stand much heavier fishing than it is currently receiving. The results are interesting enough I believe to justify having one party spend considerable time on a tag and release programme next year. There is a joint commercial - sport fishery on Rainy Lake. It is my belief that our Division of Research should thoroughly investigate the interrelationship. At the present time we are labouring under the impression that this is a good and desirable arrangement. But we have no solid facts on which to work. This is a major project requiring intensive study. My general impression is that most of our pickerel lakes are in excellent condition. Spawning facilities are adequate. Food supply is good. Timber operations are somewhat harmful. (This is another job for the Division of Research). Extensive holding areas are no longer productive. Log runs are injurious to spawning beds. We must be careful about competition, not only with rough fish but with bass, crappies, and sauger. - 53 - We could use a technique for earlier prediction of the success of year classes. ( b ) Northern Pike ; Fishing is good for these fish. It would be nice to know what average sizes have been through the years of fishing. Although plenty of large ones are being taken, it seems possible that there may be an increase in numbers of small ones. We have no records to go by. No general management programme is indicated at present. ( c ) Maskinong e; A tag and release programme has been undertaken on Wigwam Lake. We do not have many Muskie Lakes and the ones we do have may be somewhat overcrowded. I wonder if the new small size limit is still too large o We need further studies. If plenty of money were available it might be wise to conduct intensive creel census and population studies on one or two maskinonge lakes. It is a question of whether the results would justify the costs. After one more year's work it may be possible to answer this question. ( d ) Largemouth and Small m outh Bass i These fish were originally considered very desirable in the west end of the district., Currently they are going through a period of reduced popularity, One wonders where the popularity pendulum will hang in the future. They do well in suitable lakes in the area, Overpopulation problems should be watched. The question of competition with yellow pickerel should receive some attention although at the moment it does not appear to be a pressing problem. The management biologist would also appreciate greater understanding of its role as a competitor with lake trout. In the meantime it is wise to assume that it is an important competitor and avoid having them in the same lake. ( e ) Cra pp ies s Currently these fish are popular in tourist outfitting circles. Ontario residents are indifferent. Some outfitters see a possible winter fishery developing in the area. It may be important. I have tried to learn what I can about its role as a competitor with yellow pickerel and can find nothing in the litera- ture. This was discussed with a Minnesota Biologist who is doing considerable work with crappies but he could give no advice. Until something comes up, I believe it well to go easy. At the moment I believe it could be - (a) Food for pickerel (b) Unimportant as a competitor, or (c) An important competitor, Its role probably varies from lake to lake. - 59 - It is a general principle in lake management that adding one game fish where others already exist is poor policy. (f) Sauge rg These fish under some circumstances tend to replace pickerel. Eating and fishing quality is good. The objectional feature is its small size. Commercially its value is relatively low. In managing, one should consider its importance. In the long run is it best to produce a large number of small fish or a smaller number of larger fish? This is a matter of opinion. At the present time it seems to me that the larger fish are the most desirable. In years to come fishing pressures will likely increase and we may happily settle for the smaller fish. But for now it is my opinion that we should manage our lakes for the larger walleyes. Summary Fishing for warm water fishes is currently good. There is little or no evidence of overexploitation. Timbering practices could be improved, The construction of access roads would distribute fishermen more widely and possibly reduce the use of water as a transportation and storage system for logs. We need considerable extensive warm water fisheries research in the area. Competition is a major problem and we must watch it closely.